Jun 2012 29

Summer Guide – Prince Edward Island

Posted by Jay Banks
Beauty on Prince Edward Island by TJ Keenan
Beauty on Prince Edward Island
by TJ Keenan

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive – it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” Anne Shirley asked.

Montgomery’s beloved fictional heroin lived in Prince Edward Island, and even though the island is rather small and she was definitely a wandering girl, there was always something new to be discovered. What was it about the place that infatuated Anne so much?

The Essentials

Summer is the perfect time to explore the secrets of Prince Edward Island. Why don’t you and your family take a week off and spend some time together away from the big city rush and lights that never sleep? The island is a unique place with something for everyone. The never-ending red sand beaches, quality golf courses, authentic restaurants serving fresh food, and the cosy hotels and apartments will surely impress you.

Getting There

Getting There by Ferry by Michael Sprague Getting There by Michael Sprague

You will be surprised by how close Prince Edward Island is to the mainland. You can choose to travel by plane, car, or ferry.

Plane


Air Canada has scheduled direct flights from Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa and Toronto on a year-round basis with additional flights during the peak summer season, June to September. Westjet offers direct flights to Toronto all year round with daily flights from May to October. Delta Air Lines provides seasonal summer service from June to September from three cities in the United States: Boston, Detroit and New York. Schedules vary by city and are subject to change.

Car

A 13-kilometre engineering phenomenon, Confederation Bridge is a quick, convenient, and fascinating way to arrive on the Island. Connecting from New Brunswick, the bridge brings you to the town of Borden. The bridge and ferry tolls are paid only on departure or only if you decide to leave!

Ferry


Northumberland Ferries depart from Caribou, Nova Scotia, and the Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island about every hour and a half from May to late December. The 75-minute trip, casual atmosphere with a chat and a snack, lounging on the deck, sunbathing, and enjoying some traditional music on deck will get you in the right mood before disembarking on the island.

Climate

Summer is a perfect time for visiting Prince Edward Island. The weather is pleasant — day temperatures range from 20 to 32 degrees Celsius and the air is not as humid as one might expect. If you pack shorts, T-shirts, and dresses, you should get away with it pretty easily. July is the hottest month of all, so I would advise you plan your vacation around this time if you love sunbathing and swimming in the ocean.

Living in a Fairy Tale

Anne of Green Gables by Wikimedia Commons
Anne of Green Gables by Wikimedia
Commons

In 1908 when the novel “Anne of Green Gables” was first published, most people could only wish to visit the island and its breathtaking surroundings. The vast majority of them never heard of the island, so they expected Lucy Maud Montgomery to have created the lovely place herself. To everybody’s surprise, Prince Edward Island is real and the beautiful places described in the book are still there and open to the public. Nowadays many tourists and fans of the novel visit the island to experience a glimpse of the incomparable beauty.


Did you know that you could walk in the Haunted Wood at Green Gables Heritage Place in Prince Edward Island National Park? There is a little shop so that you can take some souvenirs back home as well.


Anne of Green Gables – Canada’s beloved family musical will shine once again in the annual Charlottetown Festival. Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™ is the original musical adapted from the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It has been running every year at the Charlottetown Confederation Centre of the Arts since 1965.

Arts and Culture

Prince Edward Island is known as the birthplace of Confederation. In 1864, the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Québec met in Charlottetown, the capital city of the island, to form the new nation. If you’re interested in history, you can visit the Province House and Founders’ Hall, where you can find many details, photos, and contracts dating back to the 19th century.

The island has something ready for not-so-keen-on-history folk as well. What’s the weirdest festival you have ever heard of? The Potato Festival ("http://redsandsshore.com/potatofest.php" link not working any more; removed) would surely be among them! There will be activities for all family members. You can enter the “best potato recipe” competition, join the potato sack or spoon race, and learn how to weave baskets. All the activities are accompanied by live music and ever-present delicious potato-based meals.

Unique PEI Experience

Artisan Artisan

You can find souvenir shops everywhere. The content is usually not so pleasing, and I would say that only few of the shops are an exception. However, what Prince Edward Island offers is a unique present or gift that you make yourself. The island is full of small artisan shops and galleries where you can participate in short workshops lasting from an hour to one day. Islanders are there for you to show you a bit from their well-preserved and precious culture. You can participate in many workshops and learn how to fish, prepare delicious lobster, or make your own jewellery. You will then leave the island with a beautiful souvenir that can’t be found elsewhere.

Local Cuisine

If you’re a businessperson working a hundred hours a week, you don’t get many opportunities to relax, have time for yourself, or just go to a good restaurant without having to worry about the time. Prince Edward Island offers an unforgettable culinary experience on top of the beautiful scenery. Zagat named it the second best foodie getaway in the world. The local cuisine is shellfish and seafood oriented. Imagine a restaurant that serves oysters and lobsters caught a few miles from your table and the taste of grilled scallops all accompanied by a great local wine. If you decide to visit the Island in the early autumn, you can visit some of the greatest food festivals, where you can learn how to shuck oysters, fish, or prepare the meal of your dreams.

Beaches

Summer Prince Edward Island by Michael Sprague
Summer Prince Edward Island
by Michael Sprague

Prince Edward Island is a synonym for beaches and red sandstone cliffs. The Island was the first thing the Europeans saw when they arrived centuries ago. You might not meet Anne of Green Gables nowadays; however, the place still has its own magic. It boasts 1,000 kilometres of shoreline, mostly in the form of impeccable beaches. It is a peaceful place surrounded by beautiful nature. You can escape the rush of a big city and enjoy time for yourself and your family.

Golf

Prince Edward Island is home to some of the best golf courses in the North America appreciated by the biggest names in golf. Whether you choose to go south, The Links at Crowbush Cove, Dundarave or Brudenell River or to Mill River Golf Course, located west of Summerside, you will not be disappointed. There are more than 30 courses around the Island ranging in size so you don’t need to worry about crowds of people playing golf around you. There is very likely to be a course in close proximity from your hotel or apartment so that you can enjoy playing golf, relaxing on the beach, or having an amazing dinner all in one day.

Accommodation

You can find a full range of hotels here on Prince Edward Island. What criteria should you consider when you’re booking a vacation as a family or couple or if you’re travelling on your own?

The Luxe – The Great George

The Great George is a historical boutique hotel owned by Kevin and Kathy Murphy. They are both working on restoring the old typical look of Charlottetown. Their hotel offers luxurious rooms and suites ready to accommodate even the pickiest travellers. Everything feels new and clean, and the staff are always very helpful and ready to assist you with whatever need you might have. The Great George would be a perfect choice for a couple with higher standards and I’m sure it will be a beautiful place to stay during honeymoon or romantic getaway.

Family vacation – Clark’s Sunny Isle Motel

For the third year in a row, Clark’s Sunny Isle Motel has been awarded Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award in the best bargain and best service category for Canada. The motel offers spacious rooms recently renovated with modern and chic furniture. It is again family owned and the vast majority of customers return after their initial visit. It is a heaven on Earth! The Sunny Isle Motel is surrounded by 20-acre gardens that offer stunning views. It is easily approachable by car just off the Confederation Bridge.

I will come back again

Farmland on Prince Edward Island by Wikimedia Commons
Farmland on Prince Edward Island
by Wikimedia Commons

So what do you think about Anne’s home? There’s no wonder Anne was so curious and loved to walk around, exploring the beauty of one of the most stunning places in the world. Everything on the island seems magical — the red shores, sandy beaches, never-ending meadows, and lazy paths connecting small villages. Even though Anne’s times are now history, the place has kept some of the charm. “Look at that sea, all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”

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